So, after 1.6 years in this crazy community, I finally had the chance to get together with a whole bunch of noders. Courtesy of our wonderful some may say crazy host sneff, we had the time, we had the place, we had the snacks - all we needed were the noders.

If you host it...they will come...

And come they did! Under a grey Sydney sky, we sat on sneff's huge BBQ area. I arrived (a little late, after having a little difficulty negotiating the one way streets of Surry Hills) to find simonc manning the hotplate. From the moment I sat down, food was hitting the table. After all, our host is a chef, and he certainly did not disappoint (except maybe to learn that his 'home made' sausages were only home made as far as twisting long sausages into small sausages...)

So as it went, after finally finding the home of sneff, and being buzzed in (damn it feels awkward hitting the buzzer, not knowing whether to introduce yourself with your real name, or user name...), I found myself surrounded by noders. Bexxta is the only noder I have ever met in real life before - after a hug, I found another moment of feeling a little strange introducing myself - "Hi...I'm Orpheum". Of course, it makes it easier when you see a light of recognition in the eyes facing you at that point, and you remember that while it may sound strange to your ears, using this name, it's the only name the other people there have ever attached to you.

So the afternoon went on, and people came and went. As I'm a quiet soul by nature (particularly with people I don't really know), I had the opportunity to observe. Unfortunately, I'm also terrible with names - whether they be real names, or user names. It is also possible that I will mismatch names to faces - hopefully I'll manage to get them right though! However, there are a few remembrances that stand out...

  • chilidog assures us of the existence of Black Vodka. Following much questioning, we determined that it is just like normal vodka, except completely black (the use of some form of bean was mentioned as the catalyst for the dramatic transformation). Possessing magical properties, such as being opaque, like milk. The incredible ability to turn orange juice green. I shall keep my eye out for this amazing twist on regular vodka - if anyone manages to corner the elusive black vodka beast, please let me know.

  • sapia may, or may not, be of Kiwi origins. Please understand that the accusation was levelled by a man who had polished off a bottle of Tequila (sans worm) in a matter of hours, and while his speech didn't seem to be greatly affected, it is entirely possible that he was hearing accents that were not there.

  • Inoshiro_K is a much more interesting proposition as far as accents go however. He seems to have developed an incredible Canadian style of accent, through living in Glebe, Sydney. All in attendance were suitably impressed at his ability to completely transgress the normal Aussie drawl, and carve out his own, unique, take on the accent. Research on the Glebe area accent is, I believe, warranted and necessary.

  • I discovered that Taliesin's Muse is not, in fact, a bloke. I also discovered how to actually pronounce her user name. I didn't have as much learning to do as the noder in attendance who admitted that for a long time, they had misread the name as Taliesin's Mouse though...

  • Nightjar provided official security for the event. None were in any doubt that if they misbehaved, they would be heading for a rapid descent to Room 101. Nightjar also carried out the important task of critising sneff's music, while being torn between wanting to hear some fuckin' Stooges, and Rage's Killing In The Name.

  • PowderedTOASTMan can quote virtually anything. Pretty much perfectly. He appears to be one of those people who actually possess a pretty damn good memory (bastard...)

  • Ten year old fireworks are strange things. While the first one went off almost instantly, and the bumblebee one (sneff, if you're reading this, please use your mad editor skillz to edit this to read something more correct than 'the bumblebee one' - for the life of me I can't remember its name!)
    Ed. Note The pyrotechnic delight in question was a Butterfly Welcome Spring.
    went off with a reasonable degree of spectacularness, the remaining two were virtually fireproof. One went off once broken in half, with fire directly on the powder, the other refused to burn even when subjected to a dousing of lighter fluid. The cardboard burnt off around it, still the contents didn't ignite. I think we've found a replacement for asbestos as a fireproofing material!

  • Lastly, I didn't get to talk to nearly as many people as I should have. Blame that on my reserved nature - groups of people I don't know make me even quieter than normal. Next time however, I'll be more chatty, I promise! Either that, or we'll have the meet in a net cafe, and ICQ each other all night long.

Bah, there's a heap of stuff I'm forgetting here, I'm sure, or haven't mentioned. Like Proquar's grand plan for a tofu turkey, stuffed with pork. The way the rain held off until things were starting to wind up, so everything didn't go to shit. The falafel sushi (how many others would have simply admitted defeat when the falafels fell apart in the first instance?)

So I've got my first noder meet notch on my belt. I'm looking forward to adding more!